Polar bear at Tacoma zoo dies; Glacier suffered from liver cancer

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Glacier the polar bear died at the Point Defiance Zoo this week.

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A polar bear at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma has died after undergoing months of chemotherapy.

The 19-year-old bear, named Glacier, suffered from a large liver tumor as well as heart disease and fluid around his lungs. Zoo officials say veterinarians first detected a mass in the bear’s abdomen and a heart murmur in February during a routine physical exam. Glacier appeared lethargic and uncomfortable at the time.

The zoo’s veterinary staff worked with Olympia Veterinary Cancer Center and other experts to develop a treatment plan. Dr. Karen Wolf, the head veterinarian at Point Defiance, said chemo and heart medications greatly improved Glacier’s life over the last eight months, but he died Wednesday evening.

Glacier came to the zoo as an orphaned cub from Canada in 1997. The zoo says his presence helped alert visitors to the perils polar bears face in the wild.